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Retired Army lieutenant general Keith Kellogg, who's serving as acting White House national security adviser, has told associates he would take the post permanently if President Donald Trump offers it, a person familiar with the matter said.
After being turned down by his first choice to replace Michael Flynn, Trump said Friday on Twitter that Kellogg "is very much in play" to get the job as his top White House adviser on security matters, as are three others he didn't name. Kellogg will be aboard Air Force One with Trump Friday as he travels to South Carolina and Florida.
Trump plans to meet with candidates for the post this weekend while at his winter home in Mar-a-Lago, Florida, an administration official said.
Flynn resigned on Monday following revelations he misled administration officials over his contact with a Russian envoy. Trump's initial choice for a replacement, retired vice admiral Robert Harward, the chief executive of Lockheed Martin United Arab Emirates, informed Trump Thursday that he wouldn't take the job, according to two administration officials who requested anonymity because the offer wasn't made public.
Discussions with Harward to replace Flynn had begun last week. Harward, who served on the National Security Council under former President George W. Bush met again with White House officials on Monday, the day Flynn resigned, according to a senior administration official.
The person familiar with the discussions said at least two other retired generals, former CIA director David Petraeus and former National Security Agency chief Keith Alexander, also are under consideration.
Trump asked Flynn to resign following news reports that he had discussed sanctions levied against Russia in a conversation with the Russian ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak, despite insisting he had not done so.
The revelations surrounding Flynn -- and an ensuing report from the New York Times that, despite public denials, Trump campaign aides and associates had repeated contacts with Russian intelligence officials before his election -- have prompted bipartisan calls for investigation, and thrown the fledgling White House into chaos.
During a news conference Thursday, Trump defended Flynn, saying the retired army general "was just doing his job" and had done nothing wrong. He also said he was not aware of any contacts between his associates and Russian officials during his campaign. He's instead focused his ire on those in the intelligence community he blames for leaking information about his team's contacts with Russia.